When you asked my daddy for permission to marry me, I know you had no idea what you were getting into. But then, nobody could have anticipated what was going to happen.
When we were unable to be intimate because it was too painful for me, after having waited for marriage as we had been raised to do, you were disappointed. Time after time, I thought it was something I was doing wrong. But as things slowed down and eventually stopped because I couldn’t put myself through it anymore, you never once complained or tried to push me. You respected my decisions and my identity as a woman and let the matter drop. Not many men out there have such respect for the women in their lives.
When I was diagnosed with celiac disease in 2012, you, as the house cook, after getting over the shock of what gluten free really means, took it as a challenge. You did everything you could to make our kitchen safe so I would rarely have to worry about getting glutened. You sat by my side on the kitchen floor when I had a meltdown about never being able to eat Oreos ever again. Occasional cooking disaster aside (“I’ll just have cereal for dinner…”), you always try as hard as you can to make something gluten free taste good.
When my bum knee went extra-bum in the middle of nowhere in the Grand Canyon in 2013, you hiked the remaining five nearly-vertical miles in record time to get out of the Canyon by the time I was airlifted out, all so you could be by my side as soon as possible. After my knee surgery, you made sure I was able to get around on my crutches and that I was doing my physical therapy so my knee would heal properly. You cheered me up on days when I had setbacks, encouraging me that I would be able to walk normally again soon.
When I was diagnosed with endometriosis in 2014, you cuddled me and held my hand through every pain episode until the pain meds kicked in. You fully supported me when I wanted to seek a second opinion about my treatment options. You counted down the days with me until my surgery in Atlanta. You were with me every second you could be and made sure I was eating properly during my recovery. You helped me with everything I needed to do during my recovery that I needed help with. You celebrated with me as I met milestone after milestone in my recovery. And when we were able to be intimate now that the cause of the pain had been found and taken care of, we began hoping a pregnancy wasn’t far away.
When our struggle with infertility began in 2015, you sat by my side when I wept every time I got my period instead of a positive pregnancy test, assuring me it would be our time when God said it would. With every pregnancy announcement and birth announcement I cried over, you gave me a hug, knowing sometimes words aren’t needed. When I fell into a major depression as a result of the infertility, you did what you could to fix it. But when it came to be too much, you too cried on the couch, out of my sight, as I cried myself to sleep in the bedroom. You can only be strong for so long in situations like that, and I’m sorry I made you sad.
When the migraines began in 2016, you took care of me as best as you could, taking me to the emergency room when necessary, making sure I only saw the best doctors and nurses there were. You comforted me when I cried on days I had to call off work, assuring me my coworkers didn’t hate me for my poor health. When the official diagnosis of brain tumor was given, you encouraged me to take the medication that would surely take care of the tumor, nursing me through the horrible side effects. You got me through several emotional meltdowns, when the side effects became too much and life got me down; it was thanks to your knowledge of what to do that you didn’t need to call an ambulance. And when it was recommended by the neurosurgeon it was time for brain surgery, we were able to come to a decision only by looking each other in the eyes. No words were needed between us anymore. I looked at you and with full confidence turned to the neurosurgeon and said, “We’ll proceed.”
Now we’re in Atlanta for another surgery related to my endometriosis. We came to this decision together too, when the symptoms of my scar tissue were getting rapidly worse. Step one in conquering the health issues I’ve been dealt this year. I’m in the OR right now and Dr. Sinervo is doing his best to fix me. And once I’m out, my recovery begins again. And I know that you’ll be right there, by my side. Always by my side. In sickness and in health.